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Raffles The Bosphorus - 7 Flavours You Can Experience at Raffles Istanbul
January 3rd 2022

7 Flavours You Can Experience at Raffles Istanbul

Offering a wide variety of culinary experiences, you can enjoy an array of impeccable flavors in Istanbul thanks to its culinary richness stemming from the mix of Mediterranean cuisine and Anatolian cuisine bringing in different ingredients and cooking techniques melting in a pot to form the complex Turkish food culture. Whether your choice of gastronomic indulgence is five o’clock tea after a long day of shopping or a memorable dinner in the evening, Istanbul has a culinary offering for every need and style.

One Turkish poet had rightfully said, “Happiness must have something to do with breakfast”. Objections, anyone? Be it the well-known continental breakfast or the must-try Turkish breakfast that comes with all kinds of cheeses and olives, omelets, and the local specialty of jam and clotted cream, who can argue that starting the day savoring such flavors is nothing but fascinating?

If it’s the weekend, even better as Sunday brunch is an everlasting trend in Istanbul. Relaxing with your loved ones, family, and friends around a brunch table; enjoying delicious food, indulging in joyful chatter and laughter is a priceless experience. One venue for Sunday brunch in Istanbul is Rocca Restaurant of the Raffles Istanbul. Along with all Turkish breakfast items, Sunday brunch at Rocca also offers a wide selection of delicacies from its live cooking stations; premium steaks, samples of Pan-Asian cuisine, and Chinese food thanks to the Isokyo restaurant pop-up with its signature lobster rolls standing out. All in a lively, colorful environment accompanied with great music as Rocca is one of the main live music venues during Sunday brunch.

When you have sore feet after spending the day shopping around in the bazaars of the city or Zorlu Center and need a place to rest and be pampered in the afternoon,  tea and finger sandwiches come to your rescue. Turkey’s tea culture is different than other Eastern or Western tea-consuming countries. Here, strong black tea is consumed all day long starting with breakfast and continuing almost until bedtime. Drinking tea together is seen as a gesture of friendship and this is why you will probably be offered tea in shops. Still, the main afternoon tea-time sticks to the five o’clock tea tradition and takes place between three and five in the afternoon. From just a small glass of tea with a traditional “simit” – baked circular dough encrusted with sesame seeds – you can buy on the street to fancy tipsy high tea, tea is everywhere, for every taste. One venue to enjoy five o’clock tea is the beautiful Lavinia Lounge of Raffles Istanbul at Zorlu Center. The quintessential place to meet in the city, Lavinia offers an amazing tea-time with the full range of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries with the recent addition of a special tipsy high tea selection. During the Prohibition Era in United States between 1920 and 1933 as drinking was outlawed, liquor was served in teacups marking the origin of tipsy teas today. A tribute to the speakeasies of the prohibition days, the tipsy high tea of Lavinia offers exquisite tastes like the hibiscus and clove-infused champagne you can’t get enough of.


Another great way to enjoy your tea-time would be visiting the atmospheric Pierre Loti outdoor Café – named after the famous writer – the locals go to hilltop to watch the skyline of Istanbul from the Golden Horn stretching to the domes of Sultanahmet at sunset.

Once the morning and afternoon flavors to be savored are checked, that brings us all the way to a sumptuous dinner, of which options are wide. There are many fine-dining alternatives in the city thanks to local and international chefs who cook either in their own restaurants or manage famous restaurant brands’ kitchens. Because of its geographical location, Turkish culinary culture is a balanced mix of Mediterranean cuisine and mid-Anatolian Cuisine supported by Black Sea delicacies and a wide range of cooking techniques. This culinary richness brings out a rich array of alternatives when it comes to dining. For those with an appetite for local food in a local atmosphere, an “esnaf restaurant”, one that serves up classic home-cooked dishes mostly for the working people is a good option. Keep in mind, most are open for lunch only although some have interpreted their classic ways to keep up with the demand and are also serving dinner.

International cuisines are also very popular in Istanbul. Korean food, Thai food, and Chinese food are amongst the most popular which sums up in the definition of “Pan Asian Cuisine”. In recent years, there are more venues opening serving Chinese food as well as Thai food which is not surprising taking into consideration the special umami these culinary ecoles bring in. One of the best representatives in the city in terms of Pan Asian food is Isokyo located in Zorlu Center. A glamorous blend of Chinese dumplings, lobster rolls, premium steaks, everything sour and spicy ending in ending with Korean sweets and Thai sweets, Isokyo is a chic celebration of Pan Asian flavors in one of the city’s most stylish fine-dining settings. If you have difficulty choosing, codfish, Osi Sushi or Bao Bun Slider are the hits!

Why not end the night with a Bosphorus Sling at the Long Bar or in one of the live music venues of the city to put the cherry on the cake of your perfect day spent in the magnificent city of İstanbul?